Film: Born and Raised in the Ghetto

Born and Raised in the Ghetto is a three-part documentary mini-series about urban life in African slums. Each film portrays a slum neighborhood, focusing on urban characteristics, architecture, culture, everyday life as well as some of the problems that are emblematic of African slums. The films follow a young local man in each location who presents his neighborhood in his own words. The three local men have structured lives, pride and aspirations. Thereby, the films challenge the way African slum-dwellers are commonly conceptualized in the media. The films thus seek to provide a nuanced portrait of the three neighborhoods and their residents with focus on both problems and potentials.

The films were shot with a hand held smart camera without zoom and manual focus. Accordingly, the films have a no-nonsense stripped down visual style, similar to the personal experience of walking through the slum areas. Aesthetically, the series thereby relate to the smart phone generation, mediating the artistic expression and media format prevalent among young urban dwellers across the African continent.

Africa is the least urbanized continent. However, it has the highest population growth rates and rates of urbanization. Consequently, African cities are currently experiencing extreme growth and radical urban transformations. According to UN-Habit 60-70% of the urban population in Africa reside in slums and the number of slum dwellers is expected to double over the next 15-20 years. Slums are thus the predominant and fastest growing urban type in Africa. While slums are notorious for their problems with public hygiene, crime and poverty, most residents live relatively normal lives and take pride in their homes and neighborhoods. While the negative associations of slums are manifested in real problems, very few people have an actual idea of their real life implications. The stereotypes of a primitive urban Africa conveyed by the media are often far from the hyper-urban reality that characterize most African urban communities. This documentary series takes a unique look at the conditions of some of the most extreme urban environments in the world with heartwarming personal stories and insightful knowledge of urban development in Africa.

Watch the films on filmstriben here.